Friday, March 22, 2013

How far is 200 miles?

Not long ago, I learned that the Area Presidency, and then the Stake Presidency have asked that wards limit their Scouting excursions (no word on if that extends to Trek excursions) to 200 miles.  Naturally, this led me to some questions? 200 crow-miles, or 200 car-miles? What's within that limitation? So, I decided to take a look at what a 200-mile radius from my chapel looks like.  I had to do a little googling to find out how to plot a circle in Google Earth, but found a way to do it (described below).  The bottom line, to me, is that the roads go where they go, and not one of them goes directly to any destination.

I don't care for the notion that mileage is limited to highways meandering through the mountains. So, for my part, I'd operate under the assumption that it's 200 crow-miles, and not ask for further clarification.  However, I understand where this is coming from: racing home for six hours after after wearing yourself ragged hiking out of your wilderness adventure, in order to get all the Scouterellas home by the stroke of midnight on Saturday, can be (has been*) a recipe for disaster.  It's all part of prudent, thoughtful planning.

Some of the sites within a 200-mile radius of my chapel.

Happy, safe travels.  Don't forget to file (and follow) a Tour Plan! (pdf version)

Here's how to plot this yourself.
  1. Download and install Google Earth, if you don't have it already.
  2. Navigate to and stick a thumbtack over your chapel.
  3. Right click the marker, select Properties and take a look at the Lat/Long.
  4. Enter those coordinates on this FCC web site (you have to convert the Deg/Min/Sec coordinates to Deg.decimal coordinates.
  5. Copy the resulting decimal coordinates into the appropriate blocks at KML4Earth (If you're in the Western Hemisphere, make ensure to enter a "negative" longitude).
  6. Enter a radius, hit "Generate Circle" then follow the instructions. You'll have a terrain-hugging radius overlaid on the imagery.
  7. The radius overlay will show up in the Temporary Places in the navigation panel on the left.  Right-click "circle.kml" and select "Save to My Places" to keep it. Right-click again and alter the properties as needed.
  8. Plot likely sites within your circle, and show them to the boys.  What's great is that you can save a .kmz file of the circle and sites (I put a copy in my Dropbox), and show this to anyone with your smartphone or tablet.

UPDATE, June 24, 2014

When are 200 miles not 200 miles?

When they're NAUTical miles!  I added a 200nm-radius circle to the overlay , and included all the Scout camps from five councils within that area. I also added Philmont because, well, Philmont.

And don't penalize your mileage for the switchbacks.

Finally, as I was researching this, I found that almost all of these Councils/camps offer programs for LDS Activity Days girls (at dedicated Cub Day Camp facilities) and YW camps. Just in case your girls were looking for adventure, or some nonsense like that. Look at the respective Council camping web page for more information. Because girls need to be prepared, too.

Prepared. | For Life.™

*This tragic incident falls well within the 200-mile limit, car or crow, from the Wasatch Front, which demonstrates to me that risk is not distance-based, but preparation and planning based. I'm not commenting on the state of mind of the victims, only on a general mentality that drives us to do dumb things.

1 comment:

Fishgutts said...

We had a 500 miles rule until a few months ago. One of the members of the Stake Presidency told us that the Stake President said there was a rule (of which the SP's own ward NEVER followed the rule). Come to find out the 500 mile rule was a member of the Stake Presidency's interpretation of something the SP said. Therefore, we are no longer tied by a Mormon 500 mile leash. I would love for you to ask the area presidency for some "documentation" on this rule. I find it rubbish. I don't think we should put undo burden on families to pay for trips with increasing gas prices but lets not limit things due to distance. Again, pure and 100% poppycock and rubbish.